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Vitamin D prevents pain in women starting breast cancer treatment

Posted on: October 15, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Research presented recently at the American Society of Clinical Oncology reports that high dose vitamin D is effective in decreasing joint pain, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment.

Aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy is a common adjuvant treatment for stage I-III breast cancers. Musculoskeletal pain is one of the most significant side effects of the treatment, often causing patients to discontinue the treatment.

Dr Qamar Khan and colleagues recruited patients with breast cancer who were starting AI treatment and had vitamin D levels ≤40 ng/mL. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either 30,000 IU vitamin D3 weekly or a placebo.

The researchers found that significantly fewer patients in the vitamin D group reported musculoskeletal pain, as well as adverse quality of life events (increase of pain, fatigue) when compared with those in the placebo group.

Dr Bruce Kimler, co-author of the study states, “We are looking to study a larger population to increase generalizability for future research. This has not proven to be the easiest task because many potential participants are vitamin D sufficient.”

Researchers generally prefer including participants in vitamin D studies with insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels.

For a more detailed report of the study read our blog: Vitamin D: Decreasing pain associated with breast cancer treatment?


Khan QJ, Kimler BF, Reddy PS, Sharma P, Klemp JR, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D3 to prevent worsening of musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue in women with breast cancer starting adjuvant letrozole: The VITAL trial. J Clin Oncol 30: 2012. suppl; abstr 9000

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